Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


LIU      DISRUPTION OF SELJUK EMPIRE     123
left the sedentary population unmolested, but drove the
Ghuzz tribes from their pastures. Crossing the Oxus,
the dispossessed nomads obtained permission from Sultan
Sanjar to settle in the neighbourhood of Balkh, agreeing to
supply 24,000 sheep annually as a tax for their 40,000
families. A dispute as to the quality of the sheep excited
a rising, which the governor of Balkh tried in vain to
quell. Upon hearing this, in A.H. 548 (1153) Sanjar
marched in person with an army of one hundred thousand
men to assert his authority. The Ghuzz in alarm offered to
submit and pay a heavy fine, but Sanjar would not listen
to their overtures, and the nomads fighting desperately
for their lives defeated the Seljuk army and took the
Sultan prisoner,
The Atrocities committed by the Ghuzz.—The victors,
ferocious and intoxicated with success, attacked Merv
Shahijan, or "Merv the soul of the Shah,7* as it was
generally termed, which they captured with all the amassed
wealth of the Seljuks. Not content with plunder, they
tortured the wretched inhabitants, their favourite method
being to ram dust down the victim's throat with a sStick,
the mixture being grimly described as cc Ghuzz coffee."
From Merv they marched on Nishapur, where " the slain
could not be seen for the blood wherein they lay." Their
terrible ravages have been depicted by Anwari, whose
poem was translated by William Kirkpatrick in A.D. 1785.
Two of the stanzas ran :
Waft, gentle gale, oh waft to Samarcand,
When next thou visitcst that blissful land,
The plaint of Khorasania plunged in woe :
Bear to Turania's King our piteous scroll,
Whose opening breathes forth all the anguished soul,
And close denotes what all the torturM know.
The mosque no more admits the pious nice;
Constrained, they yield to beasts the holy place,
A stable now, where dome nor porch is found :
Nor can the savage foe proclaim his reign,
For Khorasania's criers all arc slain,
And all her pulpits levelled with the ground.
Their Ravages in the Kerman Province*—In the pro-